A young Congressman stumbles on the powerful political underworld of 1950's D.C. in this "potent thriller" (David Baldacci) and New York Times bestseller from CNN correspondent Jake Tapper.
Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career...but for his life.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Hellfire is right: Set in Eisenhower-era Washington, CNN host Jake Tapper's debut novel blazes with diabolical doings in every corner. Tapper presents the seamy underside of Beltway politics, including the McCarthy witch hunt and the titular secret society. History devotees will appreciate how Tapper threads real-world political figures—some of whom may draw comparison to current power brokers—into the story; their presence helps ground the book’s most outrageous conspiracy-driven elements. The Hellfire Club provides fascinating insights into the murkier side of politics, making it feel unusually current for a work of historical fiction.
CNN's chief Washington correspondent Tapper (The Outpost) makes his fiction debut with an intriguing if uneven political thriller set during the McCarthy era. In December 1953, a New York seat in the House of Representatives becomes vacant upon its occupant's mysterious death. Charlie Marder, a Columbia University academic and WWII veteran, is appointed to fill it after some backstage maneuvering from his well-connected father, a Manhattan power broker. Marder and his zoologist wife, Margaret, make the move to D.C., which is in the grips of Senator Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare, as well as the dual shining lights of the Kennedy brothers. It's soon clear that Marder is more pawn than player in a political chess game, even when he tries to stand up against money being funneled to a company that produced shoddy gas masks during the war. He makes friends with the veterans on Capitol Hill, joining them in liquor-soaked poker games. Tapper, whose intimate knowledge of Washington is undeniable, initially spends more time building up the Communist-hunting ambience of the 1950s than developing the plot, but once Marder closes in on a secret society and its tentacles within the government, the action rapidly picks up. Fans of well-researched historicals will be rewarded. Author tour.)
Good tale about Washington in the 1950’s
But unfortunately, it strained credibility.
I truly couldn’t put it down once I started it.
Jake Tapper should stick to being an anchor on CNN.
Too many characters, too confusing. The story is also too violent. And do you really need to reference Margaret’s pregnancy every other sentence?